All of us have a perspective. Perspectives are limited in that unless we are using a totally objective perspective, our perspective is subjective. An object will look different depending on what perspective you have of that object. Each perspective is a different angle on something. Our perspective shapes our experiences and our experiences shape our perspective. We could look at objective perspective as the amalgamation of all subjective perspectives relative to something. I can tell you that the perspective that a cow has about a slaughterhouse will be different from the perspective that a knocker will have of a slaughterhouse. A child will have a totally different perspective of the family home than the parent will. A doctor will have a totally different perspective about a medical crisis than the patient will have and both will have a different perspective than the insurance company that covers the hospital will have.
You can imagine subjective perspective to be like looking through a single telescope. As if our subjective perspective were not limited enough, what makes this even more limited and the view through it less accurate, is that we also see the world from our limited perspective through filters. So as if looking through a single telescope at the world isn’t bad enough, the lens we are using has a filter on it. This distorts the reality of whatever we are looking at. We can recognize the limits of someone’s perspective and see their filters. However, we have a very hard time recognizing the limits of our own perspective and we have a very hard time recognizing our own filters.
A filter is literally anything that shapes or distorts our perception of something. They can be thoughts passed down to us, information we are fed, beliefs we are conditioned to adopt, experiences we have and meaning that we assign to experiences just to name a few. We begin adopting filters for our telescopes even before we are born. And not only do they distort our capacity to see things clearly and for what is real, they can also ruin our life.
I will give you some straightforward examples. I’m not going to be politically correct for this first example. A child is not born a bigot. So let’s imagine that a child is born into a family that believes black people are dangerous and also a lower life form. This family may also have stories to justify this belief. This belief may make them behave in ways towards black people that make black people go into a state of defense and thus seem dangerous. This child has received a filter through which to experience black people. That filter is “less than and dangerous”. This child cannot see black people for the reality of black people; he or she will only see them through this filter. Until this person questions this filter and is able to remove it, all of the words a black person says and actions a black person takes will be distorted through this filter.
Let’s imagine that at three years old, someone gets attacked by a dog. This will create a filter that dogs will attack them. The rest of us who love dogs will tell you that this experience is not only rare, it is entirely avoidable if someone is actually doing the right thing with their dog. We have all kinds of other experiences that shape our perspective that dogs are wonderful and much less dangerous than people. But this filter through which this person sees dogs will shape their entire life relative to dogs. They will see dogs in a totally inaccurate way.
Lets imagine that a little girl is walking through the world and constantly sees images of women who look a certain way. Women who are a size 2 and who have perfectly photo shopped features and who are 5’11” tall. She may eventually create her own filter by adding the meaning to the experience that unless she looks like that, she does not have any value and is in fact ugly. Because of this, she may develop an eating disorder or spend all her money on cosmetics and plastic surgery in order to look as much like those women as possible. For more information about this, watch my video titled; Meaning, The Self Destruct Button.
A child might have a super loving experience with her mother. As a result, she sees the universe through the lens of everything is here to support me. She may not even notice people who are not around her with her best interests in mind because of this filter through which she sees the world.
Some of these filters are beneficial, some of them are detrimental but regardless of whether they are beneficial or detrimental, the thing to be aware of is that they are not necessarily accurate. They might just be totally distorting your capacity to see what is real.
Filters are being offered to you from everywhere. Companies create these filters for you in order to sell their products. Welcome to Marketing. Politicians create these in order to influence your vote and opinion. Most political filters are aimed at altering your perspective of the future. They sell you a filter of potential through which to see them and their would be vision. They also give you a negative filter through which to see the future if their opponents win. The justice system is made of them. One could say filters are the basis of the judicial process instead of evidence, which is one reason why the justice system is so unjust. A lawyer’s job is to get the jury and the judge to adopt a filter that changes their perspective in favor of whatever perspective benefits the lawyer for the judge and jury to have. Evidence is a tool that is used to enhance the chance that they will adopt this filter. And a truly incredible lawyer is often able to get the judge and jury to adopt a filter regardless of the evidence that undermines that filter. When we say “everyone deserves a fair trial, what we are really saying is “everyone deserves for someone to fight for the judge and beyond that if need be, the jury to adopt a filter that benefits them.
The stories that show up in the media are full of filters. In truth many stories are simply filters in and of themselves. This is what makes the fact that companies and media are so in bed with one another so dangerous to the people. All a company has to do to sell their products is pay for a news article to be run highlighting the need for their product, usually by instilling fear in the people. For example, all we have to do to get you to go out and get your flu shot is run a story about how dangerous the flu is this year and how if you care about your loved ones, you need to go out there and get one.
Tabloids shape how we see famous people. Each piece gives us a filter through which to see them. If a tabloid writes an article about Angelina cheating on Brad, it doesn’t matter whether it is true or not, doesn’t matter whether you know her or not, it is going to effect how you perceive her as a person. You will see her from that day forward through a filter unless some other piece of information comes along to cause you to remove that filter or change that filter to another one.
Every filter we adopt will change the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves. Every filter will shape our life experience, the things we think and say and do. There is nothing in this world more dangerous than a subjective perspective that is mistaken for objective perspective. There is nothing more dangerous than a filter that distorts our capacity to see what is real.